Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant recipient Susan Sheldon at Temple of the Way of Light

Frequently Asked Questions: Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant

We are experiencing very high interest in the Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant, and we’re working as fast as we can to bring you more information. Meanwhile, here are simple answers to a few of the questions we are most commonly asked.

What is the Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant?

The Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant merit-based financial scholarship for women to experience transformational, authentic, traditional sacred plant spirit ceremonies in safe, legal set and settings.

What is the Cosmic Sister Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance Grant?

The Cosmic Sister Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance educational initiative, an important companion project of the Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant, focuses on helping women educate the public honestly about the risks and benefits of psychedelics and the responsible use of sacred plants in transformational, consciousness-expanding mind/body/spirit work with sacred plants, such as ayahuasca, cannabis, peyote, and psilocybin mushrooms. These grants are typically for journalism, photojournalism or other communicative media. We are interested in people who are making films, writing books, creating art, etc.

How do I contact someone about the Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant?

Please fill out the Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant CONTACT FORM. Because we are experiencing a high level of inquiries from both the media and the general public, we will respond as we are able. We deeply respect your journey. Many of you have shared sensitive, soul-felt personal information with us. Please accept our apologies if it takes a little while to respond to your message.

When are grants awarded?

Recipients for 2017 are now being considered due to the nature of this project and the need to plan well in advance. However, if you feel you are an excellent fit, it is not too late to apply! If we receive further funding, we will expand the number of awards. Please stay tuned for more information and a more formal process.

How do I apply for the Grant?

Please fill out the Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant CONTACT FORM. We’re developing a more formal application and nomination process. Meanwhile, you are welcome to send a short introduction via the Contact Form. We also encourage you to join us on SOCIAL MEDIA for news and updates.

How do you select the women who receive the grants?

Grant recipients fit the Cosmic Sister profile. A Cosmic Sister is a woman who is creative, kind and communicative. She’s interested in being the best person she can be and in supporting others to do the same. Cosmic Sisters have each other’s best interests at heart. They’re seekers, growers, givers—it’s all about doing something good with the gift of life we’re given. We’re looking for talented, brave, adventurous, accomplished, stable, hard-working, mature women from diverse backgrounds who are ready to fly. Preference is given to women who are inherently communicative by nature and can demonstrate a keen interest in and talent for sharing their experiences to help educate the public on the benefits of plant-based psychedelics, including but not limited to ayahuasca.

Please Note: These are merit grants for women who can demonstrate a true talent for and dedication to their work, whatever that work may be (artist, yogi, a teacher, health care professional, scientist, athlete, animal rights activist, herbalist, entrepreneur, environmentalist, attorney, musician, etc.) We are interested in diversity of ages, heritage, professionals, etc.

Applicants should be able to demonstrate their talents through online portfolios, publications or other forms of communication. Dedicated students and experienced professionals are all welcome. Women do not need to be in any particular field. We welcome any woman who can demonstrate talent, intelligence and dedication to her work. We welcome women who identify with any ethnic background. We welcome women who consider themselves to be deeply religious or progressive atheist or anything in between (however, we are not here to support religious agendas of any sort). We need to know who you are, what you do now and what you want to do with your life.

How is the program funded?

Cosmic Sister awards grants in a standard for-profit “Giving Back” model, which basically means it comes out of our pockets. Now that the project is proven, partnering with the right nonprofit fiscal sponsor would help us grow. We're seeking a stable nonprofit with 501c3 status to sponsor the Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant so we can accept tax-free donations, including crowd-funder campaign donations, without starting a new nonprofit of our own. Once we find that partner, we'll launch a crowd-funding campaign so we can offer more grants.

Cosmic Sister Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance, a companion project, supports women as they honestly educate the public about the benefits and risks of psychedelics and cannabis as well as responsible use of sacred plants in consciousness-expanding traditions. This part of our program is supported through a fiscal sponsorship with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Businesses, organizations and individuals can now SUPPORT these educational initiatives with fully tax-deductible donations. These donations are especially helpful in helping Plant Spirit Grant recipients cover work and travel expenses.

What does the Grant cover?

Grant funding includes costs of food, accommodations and ceremony at a quality retreat center in Peru. Grant funding does not include further travel expenses. You can learn more about funding during the application process.

Why is it so important for the women to travel to Peru to participate in an ayahuasca ceremony?

Ayahuasca is illegal in the United States. We would never engage in or encourage anyone to engage in an illegal activity. (That doesn’t mean that we believe ayahuasca should be illegal, but that’s another conversation and a bit of a rabbit hole.) The legal issue is not black and white. Our nation has a deep respect for religious freedom, and ayahuasca is a “sacred plant.” Therefore, members of certain religious organizations can legally experience ayahuasca in the States—at least to a point—but we don’t feel comfortable with risking the gray areas. In Peru, ayahuasca is not only legal but is also cherished and protected.

Where in Peru do we participate in an ayahuasca ceremony?

So far, most of the women who have been awarded a Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant have experienced the healing and consciousness-expanding journey of ayahuasca ceremony at Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual. We have also stayed at Temple of the Way of Light, and we look forward to spending a lot more time there. In 2016 we stayed at DreamGlade and we also visited Ayahuasca Foundation. All these retreats in the Peruvian Amazon are run by highly trained shamans in the Shipibo tradition. We do not yet know where we will take the 2017 group.

What if I'm looking for personal advice?

We get a lot of messages asking us about ayahuasca, and many people seek our advice about where to experience this medicine. By way of a disclaimer, we cannot and will not answer questions about your mind/body/spirit health, other than to suggest that you see a qualified health care practitioner who can help you. Nor do we take any responsibility for what you may or may not experience should you choose to travel to Peru and drink ayahuasca. This is your choice alone. We cannot be held responsible.

Where can I learn more about ayahuasca?

We recommend that you read The Ayahuasca Test Pilots Handbook. This guide will answer many of your questions regarding ayahuasca.

How to I keep in touch?

The best way to keep in touch with Cosmic Sister is through SOCIAL MEDIA. The more people who know about the program, the more funding will become available—so please spread the word.